A dog leaning on a fence with farm animals behind it.

What Are The Best Dogs For Farms?

Having a dog on your farm can bring tremendous joy and security. Not to mention the fact they make wonderful companions. With a huge selection of canine companions, how do you decide which four-legged friend is the perfect fit for your farm? In other words, what are the best dogs for farms?

Herding breeds, such as Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, Cattle Dogs, German Shepherds, Great Pyrenees, Catahoula Leopard Dogs, Shetland Sheepdogs, Bernese Mountain Dogs, English Sheepdogs, and Anatolian Shepherds, are best suited for farms. These breeds have strong herding instincts, which make them great at helping you control livestock on your farm.

What Makes The Best Farm Dog?

A dog sitting in the grass with cows in the background.
Dogs can be great additions to farms.

Selecting the right breed is an important undertaking for any farmer looking for a trustworthy canine companion. Farm dogs are among the most devoted and industrious animals, so what criteria make them the best choice?

Guarding Nature

Farm dogs are vigilant protectors of nature and its inhabitants. They have the instinctual drive to guard livestock, crops, and property from predators and other intruders. With a keen sense of smell and hearing, they can detect potential danger before anyone else.

Farm dogs possess a fearless quality that permits them to guard their domain against any potential threats. They have unwavering resoluteness and determination when it comes to protecting what is theirs.

Herding Instinct

Farm dogs are natural herders. They instinctively know how to keep livestock together and move in the right direction. Their innate sense of order and discipline makes them invaluable helpers on the farm. Herders often rely on their trusty four-legged workers to move cattle, sheep, and other animals from one pasture to the next.

High Energy Levels 

Farm dogs often have high levels of energy and enthusiasm. These dogs are bred to work tirelessly and require ample exercise to stay fit and healthy. Thus they will excel in environments that offer them multiple opportunities for outdoor physical activity.

10 Best Dog Breeds For Farms

When selecting the best breed for your farm, it’s important to keep in mind their individual temperaments and characteristics. Some of the most popular breeds include the following.

Border Collie

The Border Collie is a medium-sized, athletic, and energetic dog breed. The border collie is renowned for its intelligence and loyalty. It comes in an array of colors, such as black and white, red and white, blue merle, and tricolor.

Their bodies are usually slim and lightweight, with long legs that enable them to move quickly over long distances with grace. Border Collies have an instinctive ability to guard and protect their family, making them an excellent choice for a watchdog. They are also loyal and alert dogs that will do anything to please their owners.

Australian Shepherd

The Australian Shepherd is an intelligent and energetic herding dog with a strong work ethic. It is medium-sized with a broad chest, long legs, and a tail. Its coat is available in various shades, from solid red and white to black, blue merle, and red merle.  

The Australian Shepherd has an instinctive guarding nature that makes it well suited for protecting livestock and property. It is loyal, devoted to its family, and eager to please its owners.

Australian Cattle Dog

This dog has long been revered for its hardworking and loyal nature. Originating in 19th-century Australia, this determined breed continues to prove its worth as a companion and worker today.

Coat colorings are generally blue or red mottled with black and white patches, while their coats are short and dense. Australian Cattle Dogs have the instinct to guard livestock, and they make excellent watchdogs due to their alertness, intelligence, and obedience.

German Shepherd

The German Shepherd is a large and athletic breed of dog renowned for its loyalty and protective nature. These dogs are employed in many roles, such as law enforcement, assistance services, and search-and-rescue operations. 

Intelligent and trainable, they can be strong-willed at times, requiring patience during training sessions. The breed typically comes in the colors black and tan, as well as solid black or sable. Their guarding instincts make them great watchdogs and reliable guardians of the family.

Great Pyrenees

The Great Pyrenees is a majestic and loyal breed of dog, ideal for guarding flocks or other livestock. The thick double coat of fur on the Great Pyrenees serves to both insulate and protect the dog, while its focused and alert nature enables it to make an excellent guard. Dedicated and loyal, they make the perfect companion and a formidable protector. Their strong loyalty ensures they’ll always be by your side. 

Catahoula Leopard Dog

The Catahoula Leopard Dog is an American breed that originated in Louisiana. The medium-sized dog has a muscular physique and a short coat with shades of brown and gray. Its unique traits include webbed feet, a docked tail, and a distinctive spotted or marbled coat pattern. 

The Catahoula Leopard Dog is an excellent guard dog known for its territorial and protective nature. They are faithful friends, offering boundless affection and enthusiasm for play. They are invaluable family members who make life more joyful.

Shetland Sheepdog

The Shetland Sheepdog is a lively, alert herding breed, small and nimble. They possess a double coat, with both an outer and undercoat, that typically differ in texture and length. Shelties often come in shades of sable, black, white, and blue merle. 

This breed is loyal and protective, always on alert for potential danger to their family and property. They have a keen awareness of their environment, making them reliable guardians. They make excellent watchdogs, alerting you to any strange noises or visitors. 

Bernese Mountain Dog

The Bernese Mountain Dog is a large, powerful breed originating from the Swiss Alps. True to its Alpine heritage, this working dog is strong and sturdy with a distinctive tri-colored coat of black, rust, and white. 

Beyond its impressive physical traits, the Bernese Mountain Dog is beloved for its gentle, loyal, and guarding qualities.  These dogs make excellent livestock guardians, while their sociable nature makes them great family pets.

Old English Sheepdog

This breed is a large, shaggy working dog, originating in England in the 1800s. As a guardian of flocks and property, they are loyal and brave with excellent protective instincts, making them excellent guard dogs. 

They have an uncanny ability to sense danger; any stranger or intruder will be met with an unmistakable warning bark. This breed is also very loyal to its family and will guard them vigilantly with a love that transcends all else.

Anatolian Shepherd Dog

This is an ancient breed that originated in Turkey. This is a strong and mighty dog bred to protect livestock from hungry predators such as wolves and bears. 

The Anatolian Shepherd has strong protective instincts, making it an excellent guard dog for both people and animals. This breed is highly intelligent and known for being independent, loyal, and fearless.

What Dog Breeds to Avoid For Farms?

When deciding on a dog for your farm, select a breed that is suitable for the environment. Consider temperaments and size, as these factors can determine how well the animal will fit in with its surroundings. Some of these breeds are given below.


Chihuahuas are not recommended for farms due to their small size and timid personality. They can be easily injured by larger animals and may become frightened and stressed in a rural environment. Chihuahuas are not well-suited to working or herding roles due to their lack of size and energy.

Shih Tzus

Shih Tzus are not well suited for farm life due to their delicate nature. They are ill-equipped for a farm environment, having difficulty with rough terrain and large animals. They can be vulnerable to extreme temperatures and prone to heat stroke or hypothermia due to their poor ability to regulate body temperature. Thus, they require extra care in outdoor settings.


Greyhounds do not have thick coats and, therefore, can struggle with cold temperatures in the winter. When compared to other breeds, they require a higher level of exercise and may sustain an injury if over-exerted through running or jumping.

They need secure fencing as they are capable of jumping anything up to 6 feet tall. For these reasons, Greyhounds are not usually recommended for farms.

Pit Bulls

Pit Bulls are not a suitable choice for farms due to their potential for unpredictability and aggression. They have a history of attacking livestock, meaning they are unsuitable as guardians or working dogs. 

Proper training, socialization, and firm handling are necessary to help prevent problem behaviors; however, this may not provide complete assurance that they will remain safe around animals. Therefore, it is usually not recommended to keep Pit Bulls on farms.

In Conclusion: What Are The Best Dogs For Farms?

The best dogs for farms are those that are hardy, brave, loyal, and intelligent. Great options include the Australian Shepherd, Collie, Bernese Mountain Dog, Old English Sheepdog, Anatolian Shepherd Dog, or other similar breeds. These breeds have strong protective instincts and make great guard dogs while also being good with livestock. When selecting a pup, research the breed to ensure it will thrive in your environment. 

Are you looking to get a dog for your farm? Have you had experience with dogs on farms? Share your thoughts and feedback with us in the comments section!

Dr. Mohsin Iqbal (DVM, RVMP)
Dr. Mohsin Iqbal (DVM, RVMP)
Dr. Mohsin Iqbal is a licensed veterinarian with more than 5 years of experience in veterinary medicine. After receiving his DVM degree from The Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Pakistan, he worked as a veterinarian in both government and private sectors. Dr. Mohsin specializes in small animal medicine and surgery and has experience treating all types of animals including dogs, cats, horses, and reptiles. He has a passion for pets and has written several eBooks on pet care and surgery. In addition to his clinical work, he also volunteers his time for various animal rescue organizations and helps care for injured and abandoned animals.